Before we had any kids, we could take holidays whenever we wanted to. The advantage was that when we would take holidays outside of school holidays, our neighbours, with kids, would be home to look after our cats. With two young kids, we are now tied to school holidays as well, which means that when we take holidays, our neighbours are usually away as well.
The hardest thing to arrange is for someone to look after our cats.
Over the course of 12 weeks, Frederick built his system around a Raspberry Pi Model B+Raspberry Pi Model B+, using its GPIO pins and USB ports to connect a variety of sensors. In addition, he used the RPiSoC for tasks such as driving servos to control the automatic dispensing of cat food, the EnOcean Pi to monitor remote conditions such as whether a door is left open or closed, and an Arduino Uno to transmit the status of remote RFID devices. Frederick wrote a great synopsis of his project which recounts the challenges he faced along the way.
There was a significant amount of code produced for his project, including setting up a MySQL server, configuring openHAB to integrate data from multiple sensors en route to the Raspberry Pi, and numerous Python scripts to execute specific steps in his project. He even created a free code repository for anyone wishing to build on his work.
Here is his final build. Check out the video below to see it in action:
Frederick and his family can now take a holiday knowing that their home will not draw unnecessary amounts of energy in their absence, and that their cats will be well looked after in their absence.
Congratulations to Frederick Vandenbosch for winning our Grand Prize for his amazing CaTS project!